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Tirukural – Chapter 46


Chapter 46: Avoidance of Base Company


Verse 454


TAKA Presents the Tirukural

You can access the entire text, in Tamil and English here:
Weaver’s Wisdom




Verse 451

Men of greatness dread base company,
while the low-minded consider them kinsmen.

Verse 452

As water changes according to the soil through which it flows,
so a man assimilates the character of his associates.

Verse 453

By knowing his thoughts, a man’s mind is discovered.
By knowing his associates, his character is revealed.

Verse 454

Wisdom, appearing to originate in a man’s mind,
has its source in his companions.

Verse 455

Purity of mind and purity of conduct–these two
depend upon the purity of a man’s companions.

Verse 456

Praiseworthy progeny come to pure-minded men
whose pure companions keep impure deeds away.

Verse 457

Wealth will be bestowed on good-minded men,
and all renown will be granted by good company.

Verse 458

Even perfect men, possessing the mind’s full goodness,
are fortified by pious fellowship.

Verse 459

Goodness of mind leads to bliss in the next world,
and even that is secured by the company of good men.

Verse 460

There exists no greater aid than virtuous fellowship,
and no greater affliction than evil fraternity.

Tirukural – Chapter 45


Chapter 45: Gaining Support from the Great


Verse 443


TAKA Presents the Tirukural

You can access the entire text, in Tamil and English here:
Weaver’s Wisdom




Verse 441

If men fathom what it means to have virtuous and wise friends,
they will find the means to procure such friendships.

Verse 442

There are men who allay today’s trials and avert
tomorrow’s troubles. Befriend and look after them.

Verse 443

To cherish and befriend men of greatness
is the rarest of all rare things.

Verse 444

A man’s greatest strength is meriting friendship
with those greater than himself.

Verse 445

Knowing that they function as a monarch’s eyes,
a king looks at ministers meticulously before engaging them.

Verse 446

A man’s foes are rendered ineffective
if he can live in fellowship with the worthy.

Verse 447

Who can destroy the man who enjoys the friendship
of aides who will not hesitate to admonish him?

Verse 448

With no one to reprove and thus protect him,
a king will be destroyed, though no one seeks his destruction.

Verse 449

Profit is not for those who have no capital; nor is stability
for those who lack the support of faithful friends.

Verse 450

While it is perilous to make a multitude of foes,
it is ten times worse to give up the friendship of the worthy.

Tirukural – Chapter 44


Chapter 44: Guarding Against Faults


Verse king
stands before mirror, humbly checking himself for possible faults. Only after removing his own flaws will he turn to examine the weaknesses in his ministers who wait outside.


TAKA Presents the Tirukural

You can access the entire text, in Tamil and English here:
Weaver’s Wisdom




Verse 431

Those who are free from vanity, vulgarity and venomousness
will prosper in deserving dignity.

Verse 432

Avarice, arrogance and crude amusements are flaws
in the character of an unfit king.

Verse 433

Though their fault be as small as a millet seed,
to those who dread disgrace it will appear as large as a palm tree.

Verse 434

One’s own faults are one’s mortal enemies.
It follows that to guard against them is life’s gravest concern.

Verse 435

The good fortune of a man who does not guard against failings
before they manifest will perish like a stack of straw before a fire.

Verse 436

What fault remains in a king who expunges his own faults
before examining the faults in others?

Verse 437

The wealth of him who, out of avarice, fails to do what
should be done will vanish without the slightest vestige.

Verse 438

When all faults are reckoned, one remains unrivaled:
the greedy grasping known as avarice.

Verse 439

Never indulge in admiring yourself.
Never be drawn toward deeds that do not benefit others.

Verse 440

Delighting in life’s pleasures in guarded privacy
nullifies the conspiring schemes of enemies.

Tirukural – Chapter 43


Chapter 43: Possession of Wisdom


Verse seeker
sits within a golden fortress of protection. Before him are the wisdom-filled holy texts. Outside the wall people are offering him various material inducements, but he is only interested in the truth.


TAKA Presents the Tirukural

You can access the entire text, in Tamil and English here:
Weaver’s Wisdom




Verse 421

Wisdom is a weapon that can ward off destruction.
It is an inner fortress that no enemy can assail.

Verse 422

Wisdom will harness the mind, diverting it
from wrong and directing it toward right.

Verse 423

Whatever is heard from whomever’s lips,
wisdom will rightly discern its true meaning.

Verse 424

Wisdom speaks well, conveying each meaning clearly,
and listens for the subtlest sense in others’ speech.

Verse 425

The wise befriend the wise and keep that friendship constant,
not opening and closing it like the petaled lotus.

Verse 426

It is wisdom to live in the world
in the way that the world lives.

Verse 427

Those who know, know what will happen next.
Such things are unknown to the unknowing.

Verse 428

It is folly not to fear what ought to be feared.
So the wise dread what should be dreaded.

Verse 429

Fearsome sufferings shall never happen
to knowing ones who guard against future happenings.

Verse 430

Those who possess wisdom possess everything.
Whatever others possess, without wisdom they have nothing.

Tirukural – Chapter 42


Chapter 42: Learning by Listening


Verse his
eyes closed in meditation, a man sits with arms crossed in disdain for the riches that lie before him. The clouds around him represent his guru’s oral teachings, which he is listening to. The bundles of rupee notes and coins are slowly fading from sight. Parts of them have already disappeared as he clings to his guru’s wisdom.


TAKA Presents the Tirukural

You can access the entire text, in Tamil and English here:
Weaver’s Wisdom




Verse 411

The most precious wealth is the wealth acquired by the ear.
Indeed, of all wealth, that wealth is paramount.

Verse 412

Only when no fare can be found for the ear
is it time to offer the stomach a morsel.

Verse 413

In Heaven, Deities feed from sacrificial fires.
On Earth, men who feast on listening are their equal.

Verse 414

Though he has no learning, if a man listens to the learned,
that will serve as his staff of strength in adversity.

Verse 415

Words from the lips of upright men
are like a steadying staff in a slippery place.

Verse 416

Let a man listen to good things, however little.
Even that little will enlarge his greatness.

Verse 417

Those who have studied deeply and listened diligently never speak
foolish words, even when they have misunderstood a matter.

Verse 418

If not pierced by acute listening,
ears may hear and yet remain deaf.

Verse 419

Unless he has listened to learning’s subtlety,
it is rare indeed for a man to speak with humility.

Verse 420

There are those whose tongues taste but whose ears savor nothing.
What does it matter whether they live or die?

Tirukural – Chapter 41


Chapter 41: The Neglect of Learning


Verse 409
A young scholar sits under a tree surrounded by the ancient texts which he knows well. His nobility is such that crowds gather to hear his words.


TAKA Presents the Tirukural

You can access the entire text, in Tamil and English here:
Weaver’s Wisdom




Verse 401

Speaking to a learned gathering without ample knowledge
is like playing a dice game without the board.

Verse 402

An uneducated man desiring to be eloquent
is like a breastless woman longing to be feminine.

Verse 403

Even the ignorant will be considered wise
if they refrain from speaking in the presence of the learned.

Verse 404

However excellent an untaught man’s knowledge may be,
erudite men will never accept it.

Verse 405

An unschooled man’s self-conceit will shrivel
the moment he speaks to an assembly.

Verse 406

Like unproductive barren land is the man who has neglected
learning. All that can be said about him is that he exists.

Verse 407

The handsome charm of him whose knowledge
is neither subtle nor penetrating is like that of a painted clay doll.

Verse 408

Even more wretched than a learned man’s poverty
is the unlearned man’s wealth.

Verse 409

Though he is humbly born, a lettered man’s nobility
transcends that of the illiterate nobleman.

Verse 410

As men are to wild beasts, so are the masters
of brilliant texts to other men.

Tirukural – Chapter 40


Chapter 40: Learning


Verse 394
A holy man is seated in a mandapam during a festival. Around him, people are singing joyously. Their happiness is intensified by being with a man of such high learning.


TAKA Presents the Tirukural

You can access the entire text, in Tamil and English here:
Weaver’s Wisdom




Verse 391

All that you learn, learn perfectly, and
thereafter keep your conduct worthy of that learning.

Verse 392

Two are the eyes of those who truly live–
one is called numbers, and the other letters.

Verse 393

The learned have eyes that see, they say.
The unlearned have two open sores on their face.

Verse 394

It is the learned man’s prowess that meetings with him
bring delight, and departures leave pleasant thoughts.

Verse 395

The learned remain ever humble, as the poor are before
the prosperous. Lowly men lack such learning.

Verse 396

The deeper a sand well is dug, the more freely its water flows.
Even so, the deeper a man’s learning, the greater is his wisdom.

Verse 397

Knowing that knowledge makes all nations and neighborhoods
one’s own, how can a man stay untutored until his death?

Verse 398

The learning a man secures in one birth
will secure his well-being in seven.

Verse 399

When the learned discern that the learning which delights them
also delights the world, they love learning all the more.

Verse 400

A man’s learning is an imperishable and precious wealth.
No other possession is as golden.

Tirukural – Chapter 39


Part II: On Wealth

Section V: Royalty

Chapter 39: The Merits of the King


Verse 383
The king is sitting in a battlefield chariot, listening to his ministers. He watches vigilantly as his courageous soldiers practice their combat skills in the field. Later that day he falls prostrate before his guru, in search of learning’s wisdom.


TAKA Presents the Tirukural

You can access the entire text, in Tamil and English here:
Weaver’s Wisdom




Verse 381

He is lion among kings who is well endowed with these six:
army, citizens, wealth, ministers, allies and fortresses.

Verse 382

There are four attributes that cannot be absent in a king:
fearlessness, generosity, wisdom and industriousness.

Verse 383

In those who rule the land, three traits must never lapse:
vigilance, valor and virtuous learning.

Verse 384

The noble king is unswerving in virtue, restrains wrongdoing
and courageously maintains his honor.

Verse 385

He who can produce a treasury of wealth, deposit it,
preserve it and apportion it wisely–now, that is a king!

Verse 386

All peoples praise that nation whose sovereign
is always accessible and never speaks harshly.

Verse 387

Behold the king who speaks graciously, gives generously and
protects powerfully–the world considers his word its command.

Verse 388

Ruling righteously himself and safeguarding his subjects,
a monarch may be deemed divine by his people.

Verse 389

The world lives protected beneath the umbrella
of an ethical leader who can endure words bitter to the ear.

Verse 390

He is a light among rulers who is endowed with the four merits
of generosity, graciousness, justice and care for the people.

Tirukural – Chapter 38


Section IV: Destiny

Chapter 38: Destiny


Verse 374
At the bottom of the painting a man finds himself at a crossroads. On one side there lies the richness of worldly wealth and family possessions. The other path leads to a saint in an orange robes with hands above his head expressive of his blissful state. A man may choose to tread either path.


TAKA Presents the Tirukural

You can access the entire text, in Tamil and English here:
Weaver’s Wisdom




Verse 371

When destiny ordains wealth, it gives birth to industriousness.
When it decrees a life of loss, it inspires only idleness.

Verse 372

That destiny which decreases prosperity increases ignorance.
That destiny which diminishes loss expands knowledge.

Verse 373

However subtle the sundry texts he studies,
a man is left with his native intelligence.

Verse 374

Two natural ways are ordained in this world.
Securing wealth is one. Seeking wisdom’s light is another.

Verse 375

In karma’s presence, sure success with wealth can fail,
and certain failure can succeed.

Verse 376

Though you guard it well, what destiny does not decree disappears.
Though you cast it aside, what destiny calls yours will not depart.

Verse 377

A man may amass millions, but its enjoyment
will never exceed the portion allotted to him.

Verse 378

The poor are practically ascetics and would renounce if only karma,
approaching with experiences yet to be, would pass them by.

Verse 379

Why should those who rejoice when destiny brings them good
moan when that same destiny decrees misfortune?

Verse 380

What is there that is mightier than destiny?
For it is present even in the plans we devise to overcome it.

Tirukural – Chapter 37


Chapter 37: Eradication of Desire


Verse 364
We see here a woman kneeling and sipping water which has touched the feet of her Lord. In her devotion she has turned her back on all kinds wealth and riches which lie nearby, ignored.


TAKA Presents the Tirukural

You can access the entire text, in Tamil and English here:
Weaver’s Wisdom




Verse 361

At all times and to all creatures,
the seed of ceaseless births is desire.

Verse 362

If you must desire, desire freedom from birth.
That will only come by desiring desirelessness.

Verse 363

Here no fortune is as dear as desirelessness;
and even there, nothing like it can be found.

Verse 364

Purity is but freedom from desire,
and that comes from thirsting after Truth.

Verse 365

They say only those who have renounced desire are renunciates.
Others, though they have renounced all else, are not.

Verse 366

As it is desire, above all else, which deceives a man,
ascetics rightfully dread it.

Verse 367

Desisting from all desire-driven deeds, a renouncer
finds liberation approaching, just as he desired.

Verse 368

He who has no desires has no sorrow.
But where desire exists, endless sorrows ensue.

Verse 369

When desire, sorrow’s sorrow, dies away,
undying bliss prevails here on Earth.

Verse 370

It is the nature of desire never to be fulfilled, but he who utterly
gives it up is eternally fulfilled at that very moment.

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